We Are In This Together

I am a daughter and the primary “Go – To”  for my Mom.  Mom lives 2 hours south of here in the same house I grew up in.  I am not exactly sure how it happened, over the years, we have become closer and closer.  I call her my best friend. We talk every day.

Elbow Surgery

Last December, Mom had elbow surgery.  It was something we planned ahead for, what I didn’t know at the time was that it was a “dry run” for what was the emergency we had last week.

Setting Up Contact Groups In My Phone

I never bothered to set up groups in my cell phone for myself, but when Mom had her elbow surgery, I set them up for her numbers.  Doctors, relatives and neighbors on the street that could help out if we needed them.  I never had her Doctor’s numbers before. Turns out we didn’t need them – until last week.

Contact Groups

Depending on your phone type, you probably have the ability to create these lists/groups.  I have a separate list for those I can text and those I can’t  (Doctor’s office numbers don’t text!)  You may be able to have multiple lists/groups yourself. Mine look like this Depot Rd. Neighbors (who let the dogs out), Mom’s Doctors, Close Family (that can help that are close by) Other Family (for update only, living far away)

Don’t Wait For the Emergency

hands-coffee-smartphone-technologyTake the opportunity to go through these numbers with your “loved ones.”  Put these numbers in your phone – do it.  It makes functioning under an emergency so much easier, knowing that I could do what I needed to do, contact who I needed to contact, gave me a little direction under a pretty stressful time.

Emergency Rooms Have Crappy Cell Service

Every ER I have been in, perhaps due to all the electronics, machines and monitoring devices required for the patients, your cell phone may not work. No reception.  And for those of us that are “lone rangers” – sitting next to Mom’s bed waiting for the Doctor, without any backup, you don’t want to leave.  When you do leave you would like the easiest and quickest way to touch base with a group.

Your Cell Phone is a Lifeline

Sure, we all have fun taking selfies, perhaps we get texts by the kids to be picked up from choir practice. We use our phones every day. But take a little time to set up your phone, NOW. You can save

You can save yourself from any extra stress under an emergency situation.  I am sure glad I did.

How Do I Get That New “Thing” for my Phone/Tablet

App Stores are Where We Can get Apps – and I don’t mean the kinds wrapped in bacon!

Availability and Price for what you are trying to do depend on the what device you want it to go on.  You may want to access this blog from the device that you are looking for apps with, that way the link pops up and you can easily find it, click and download it.

iPhone, iPad, iPod – new programs or Apps are available from iTunes, the link I am sharing is for FREE apps which Apple isn’t known for a lot of FREE ones but there are some. If you choose one, it is listed if it has a cost and you will see that fee applied to your iTunes Account.

Samsung, Android Phones or Tablets
– Are in the Google Play Store.  There are many more FREE apps for Android devices but be careful, Apps can have viruses too and you don’t need problems with your phone.


amazonappstoreHave a Kindle Fire or an Amazon Phone?- Amazon has a store for you!   Again some are free and some are not but each one is indicated.


When you Download, Use Wifi

You may want to make sure that your phone is running over wifi when you download or even update your apps. Depending on your personal data plan, you can “waste” precious data (and money) just downloading something much less using it.

Apps are Not Just Fun and Games

GPS, “Find my Phone” and other apps are very helpful.  If your kids or grandkids are on Instagram, it is a FREE app (as most Social Media Apps are – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) Instagram is how many of us see what is happening via photos where they go and what they do- we can talk about Instagram sometime if you want to…



Struggles of Change

You Mean I have to learn something ELSE?

If you just go down through the entries in this blog you can see there are gaps.  Some BIG ONES!  And of course for a lot of reasons:

1) I am busy with work life.

2) I am busy with home life.



When you own a business or have a demanding job, it is easy to get trapped in the major task that must get done- NOW.  Then the next day there are several more things that have to be done – NOW.  Then months of things having to be done NOW.   In the meantime, family, friends or unplanned disasters occur.

It is even easier to get trapped in thinking about bailing out the boat as opposed to the best way how to bail a boat.  Sure you may have a dixie cup handy, but perhaps if you can take a minute, you may look up and see a big bucket that is within reach that really gets the job done.  The challenge is  being willing to “look up” and see something outside your peripheral vision that makes the difference between bare survival and success. Winning!

Seth Godin and Chris Brogan

Seth Godin is a famous guy with cool glasses that I listen to and read a lot. Same with Chris Brogan. (Chris doesn’t wear the Godin glasses but he is very cool.)  And each have an amazing gift in seeing things from the 20,000 foot view.  And not only do they see it, they can talk about it in a way that I can relate to-even if it takes a while.  And for me, it has, you know why?

Because I am busy bailing out the boat with a dixie cup!

Seth talks about” Tribes.”  Chris talks about “Community.”  Even before I realized how disconnected to our “Communities or Tribes, ” all this free media available to us, is making us.

10 Years Ago

There was no Facebook for Business, no Pinterest, no Twitter, websites were mostly brochure style and few blogs.  As businesses we were not competing for all the places people were hanging out online, because they weren’t mostly, Netflix and YouTube were fledglings. What hasn’t changed is people have the same 24 hours then that they have today. And they didn’t have smartphones!

Then using traditional methods was OK.  We still reached people using print, tv, radio.  Since then,  we got access, free access to all these media opportunities, kind of a “roll your own.”  And so did our customers and clients.  And in the meantime, we had to learn how to use all this free media.

Did We Get Lost?

In this struggle to learn technology and multiple platforms, while trying to run our businesses, did we lose focus on what we were ultimately trying to do?  Find and communicate with our customer?  Our existing customer, the new one? Where did they go?  Or better yet, where did WE go?


Could Google Hangout Be the New Interview?

 The Good Ole Days

You get a phone call or a letter from the company that you have been dying to hear from, you get your chance- you get an interview-for a job, to get into graduate school or to land an account or project.  Soooo exciting.  And to make it even better they have asked for a “phone” interview set up and they want to use Google Hangout or Skype.

If you have never Skyped or used Google Hangout…

This post will not be a tutorial on how to use Skype or Google Hangout, each application has great “Help” areas where you can learn how to do it.  But one piece of advice is:  NEVER make the most important call your first attempt at using a platform – practice on someone that knows how to use them and can walk you through it.  You need to make sure you have all the settings on your computer correct, maybe have headphones and/or microphone handy.  Does your computer have a webcam, do you need one?

Google Profile Picture

If you do not have a webcam, make sure your Google + Profile picture  is what you want it to be for the occasion.  Hangout pulls that image and if you are without a webcam, it flashes in the middle of the screen so make sure that photo isn’t one of you doing something that was funny when you posted it but not so funny now when you are going for the interview.

The View

If you are using a webcam make sure what people are seeing behind your head or next to you is what you want also.  This is an interview after all and that first impression is very important.  Having the background of a dirty dorm room or something less than flattering is a bad idea. Test it.  If it isn’t something you like, then either go somewhere that there is a good background or stage one.

If this call involves a job where you may be working with kids, perhaps the “sippy cup” with water in it is perfect. You can use this staging to market yourself too, is the company an outdoors company?  Do you have a picture on the wall behind you of your favorite salmon river?  (I do)  It is easy to find some common ground with the interviewer or the company especially when you take a couple minutes to give them something pertinent to look at.


Just like you probably wouldn’t bring your children to a client’s office for a business appointment, leave them in the waiting room or bring them in the room with you, make sure they aren’t climbing all over you, this means your dogs too (especially in my case.)  Turn down the music and focus on the conversation and the interviewer.  TURN YOUR CELL PHONE OFF and don’t be checking your email.  It’s rude.

Pretty Easy, Right?

I have been on more conference calls, webinars, etc. where I have seen all of these scenarios.  You would think people would know better. When that person isn’t right in the room with you negotiating salary and benefits, they are still there and they can see a lot.

Michael Fox

I found this post while I was researching.  It is very good and has some helpful information, even though it is from 2012, it is still accurate and well written.  (Disclaimer:  I don’t know Michael in the business sense or personally.)  He brings up some interesting points including ones about security on Google Hangout, it is well worth the read.

Thank you for reading.


Stop Beating Yourself Up!

This post is being written with two ideas in mind.

  1. Sometimes things don’t work.
  2. Most of the time it isn’t your fault.

At Sephone, it is no secret that I am not part of the tech geek universe.  But I live in my own marketing geek universe and often times each universe is talking about the same exact thing, only each one is speaking a different language or at the very least speaking from a different point of view.

I am also of the ancient decades when you bought something and started using it, it worked. (MOST of the time.)  So there was little or no second guessing.  It worked and then after a while it broke and it was obvious there was no fixing it, or you weren’t going to be the one doing it.  There were moving parts – physical moving parts, once they stopped moving, you could see what wasn’t working.

But computers, computer programs, web applications, cell phone applications also have moving parts but we cannot see them moving.  The tech universe can dive into the back of the code (which in our world means – going behind the iron curtain), to see what is and isn’t moving, fix it, or realize that it cannot be fixed.

This is the part that gets us non-tech types into trouble.  Applications through things like Facebook are often lightly tested and MOST often don’t work the way they were described at all.  All of a sudden you mouse over something and there you are “spamming” all your friends when you had no idea it would happen!  When you are playing Farmville in the middle of the night or answering a survey, did you really plan on what you were doing at that precise moment be posted all over the Facebook world?

Probably not.

But it isn’t just Facebook – now with a new cell phone I am learning that some of the coolest applications that I could use FOR FREE don’t always work the way I wish they would.  Then for hours, you fiddle with it and it still doesn’t work.  In conversations with some of my tech friends afterward, they say to me, “Oh yeah, I didn’t like that one, so I tried this one and it works much better.”  And they were right.

Meanwhile I look down at the floor at the pile of hair I have pulled out while I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.  The thing just didn’t work. Period.

I can share about 5 or 6 times in the past 30 days, where this was the case.  I wasted countless hours, trying to save time using a tool that was supposed to save me time and all it did was use it up!

Moral of the story?

When you see a “RATE THIS” button
or or

Please participate and comment on the things you are working through yourself so you can share your experience with others.

You are smarter than you think!

How many electronic “thingy’s” are plugged in at your house?

When I was cleaning the other day,  I was noticing how many power strips I had in my house and how many “unused” things were plugged into them.  (Along with those things just plugged straight into the wall outlet.)

Motorola_Cell_Phone_ChargerThere are 2 people that live in my house.   We have 4 cell phone chargers – all plugged in and on any given day one of them may be charging a phone  for a couple hours.  I also have chargers for an iPod touch that is most often plugged in somewhere and not charging anything.  If you have kids with cell phones, Gameboys, etc.  you may find that you too, have lots of random chargers plugged in throughout your house.

Now along with doing the right thing and being green and stuff like that,  you also can be costing yourself more money with your power company that is unnecessary.  Unplugging TV’s may not be something  you feel like doing all the time and individually one charger doesn’t generate a ton of power, but if you have 10 of them around your house only being used occasionally, you may want to consider plugging them in when you are charging the devices they are intended for and not leaving them plugged in when you are finished charging.

*thank you CNET for the photo

Too Dangerous…

My niece just got a cell phone.  She is 10 years old.  I have no children, so I am not qualified to comment on whether this is a good idea or not.  When she was a “wee one” of about 3, I would call my brother and he would ask her if she wanted to talk to “Aunt Kelly” she would say, “Too Dangerous.” We thought that was funny.  We thought that she had a sense of humor. Even my brother and sister-in-law thought it was funny.

Well little did I know that because she lived so far away, she didn’t remember me, so I was a STRANGER in her world.  So the whole “STRANGER DANGER” thing took on a whole new meaning. We see them and talk to them often, so I am no longer a stranger to her and we spend summer vacation time together.

For the past few years, she would confiscate her mom or dad’s cell phone and shoot me off a photo or a text message and I would be thinking, “What are they talking about?”  Then I would find out it was my niece and not them.  She is quite versed in using a cell phone – she can text better than they can!

Last Saturday, I got a text message from an unknown number, but from the area code that my brother lives in.  My first text, “Hi Auntie Kelly.”  It is my niece (obviously) she has gotten her first cell phone. Within the next 2 days I must have gotten 10 text messages from her.  Then I thought “Whoops I hope my brother’s package includes unlimited texting.”  (Here’s something that will freak you out – an $18,000/month cell phone bill!)

When you get a cell phone for your kids, it is meant to be a “tool” so you can stay connected, for them it is often considered a “toy.”  Last week,  I posted on our Sephone Blog this article about Facebook Places in relation to “Privacy Settings” .  Then when I started this post, I found this one from safekids.org (which is really a great site for all kinds of things.) In particular, this is about your kids telling too much information or their friends telling too much information on where they are, whom they are with, and at what time.  That may be helpful to you as a parent, but it is also helpful to bullies or predators.  Unfortunately, that is the world we are living in.

Our cell phone people (Central Maine Wireless) are the best.  They actually take the time and really help us make the phones work for what we need them for and everybody is different.  So take the time and make sure you don’t get some whopping bill because your kids usage of the phone may not be the same as yours or maybe things you cannot even imagine are happening BECAUSE of that cell phone. Here is a link that Paul shared with me about features you can apply to the phones you can buy for your kids.

Here is an old post (but a great one) to review when you buy that cell phone or even to use as a learning tool for those that have one all ready.  And have a safe and happy Fall 2010!

Your cell phone is a link to safety AND convenience

We all know people that have cell phones and they only have them “in case of emergency.”  Usually, this emergency they are talking about involves them.  They run out of gas, they break down on the side of the road, they use the phone to get help.  I know for me it can be frustrating because if YOU need their help, they don’t have their phones on, so from my point of view they may as well not have one!  But that is a another topic for another day…

But when I woke up to WABI, TV5 and Todd Simcox, he was telling us that we need to “keep an eye to the sky” for thunderstorms breaking out and the potential for some of them being severe.  That made me think about how we get our information and how my cell phone is KEY in me getting it.  So is your cell phone working for you to keep you safe?Blackberry_Curve_8330

You may take your kids to Little League or soccer practice, maybe you are at the beach or the golf course, the one thing that remains constant – your cell phone is with you, right?  Well start thinking about your phone as more than a phone.  You can sign up for weather alerts to go to your phone, keeping you in the loop with the latest warnings.  Now I am a bit crazy with my phone, (right Central Maine Wireless?) I have a mobile facebook application, I have Uber Twitter for my phone, BUT I have an app from the Weather Channel where I can always check on radar and I can use the internet to see the mobile site for WABI TV5 to stay connected to anything that is happening or going to happen.  (Make sure to check with your cell phone provider for options and if there are any additional charges for text or data services.)

This is a simple way to make sure you know when it is time to take cover, check to see if where you are going is in the warning area.  Don’t be overwhelmed, just try one tool at a time until you find one that works to help you accomplish what you need to accomplish.  I started using weather alerts because I am on the road often and I would like to know (especially in winter) what the weather is where I am going, in Maine we often have several weather changes along the way and this can be problematic when it is snowing where you start, raining at the end and freezing rain in between!  Your reasons may be different, but still these things are helpful and real time savers.

*Photo credit clikr.com

She said "WHAT?"

I finally figured it out. I have been getting a bit frustrated with the tone of some of the email messages I have been receiving over the past few months. They seemed to be from the same people, some of the emails were fine, clear and normal, while others seem well a bit snarky. Now anyone that knows me, realizes that I can “snark it up” with the rest of them, but I was surprised by some of them honestly. I was wondering what I had done wrong?

Then I got a new cell phone. Then I saw the light.

One liner emails may often send the wrong tone and you may not even know that you are doing it. I previously had this Motorola Razor phone for about 3 years and loved it, but I hated having to text from it, so I didn’t.

If you are “text-ing” from your cell phone to someone else’s cell phone and using their cell phone number, people expect short messages – it is a cell phone.

If you have a new fangled phone like I do, iPhone, HTC, Blackberry, etc. and you are sending a text message to someone’s email address, it may land on their laptop or desktop or their phone. If they dont understand you are trying to get a quick reply off to them via text message, they may feel a bit jilted, where your normal messages may have a greeting or some pleasantries attached, most often text messages don’t.

A little advice, if you have customers that you are trying to serve, keep this in mind. Let them know your “additional way of communicating” may be a means of efficiency in replying and not poor customer service. Their business is very important to you as well as offer them the alternative NOT to have you answer them through your phone. Often their relationship INCLUDES you as well as the service you provide them. Don’t let speedy, new technology chip away at something you may have spent a long time time working at!

How many ways can you spell D-I-R-T-B-A-G?

Rather than to repeat two gems of data, I am going to provide you with links for each of them.

It is just more a sign of the times, right? More desperate people, more crime, more opportunists. Father Tom wrote in his blog about someone stealing a cell phone, then the thief calling cell phone owner’s Granny and getting money transferred into a bank account in Canada, that was the “dirtbag’s” and not the cell phone owner’s.

I asked my friend Paul Hilchey Chandler about it, (he is my all favorite & time cell guru), he wrote some suggestions to help prevent this, so he wrote about it.

Both are great reads and worth your time. Especially, if you have kids that leave their phones unattended! Of course the kids “know it all” but they lose their phones anyway!